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Technical Platform on the Measurement and Reduction of Food Loss and Waste

Food loss measurement

Definitional framework

Food loss refers to all food produced for human consumption but not eaten by humans. Food loss is defined as “the decrease in quantity or quality of food”. The part of food loss that is called “food waste” refers to discarding or alternative (non-food) use of food that is safe and nutritious for human consumption along the entire food supply chain, from primary production to end consumers. Food waste is recognized as a distinct part of food loss because drivers that generate it are different from those that generate food loss. (FAO, 2014)

Measurement of food loss is a key component of any reduction intervention.

Agenda 2030 and the Global Food Loss Index

Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns” has target 12.3 “by 2030, halve the per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level, and reduce food losses along production and supply chains including post-harvest losses”. FAO is working on the Global Food Loss Index (GFLI) indicator for 12.3. GFLI covers losses occurred on farm, during transport, in storage, and during processing; losses in retail and household are currently not covered. Presently, GFLI uses dietary energy supply, expressed in kilocalories (kcal), as the reference unit of measure.

Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics (GSARS)

GSARS is the largest global effort to improve countries’ capacities to produce agricultural and rural statistics and use them to design more effective food security and agricultural and rural development policies. It involves partners at national, regional and global levels and a global office is hosted by FAO.

Food loss case study methodology

The Global Initiative on FLW Reduction has designed a case study method that specifically aims at collecting primary and empirical data on the causes of food losses in developing countries in selected food supply chains.  The methodological sequence follows the 4-S approach: 1) Screening, 2) Sampling and Survey, 3) Synthesis, and concluding with the elaboration of a Final Report. It has been tested in Kenya for the banana, maize, milk, and fish subsectors.

Rapid Appraisal Tool for Food Losses (GIZ)

German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ) developed a methodology for rapid value chain assessment and does not intend to provide sufficient data for evidence-based policy. It helps identifying loss hot spots that can be followed by in-depth analyses. The toolset has been tested on white rice value chain in Nigeria.

Food Loss and Waste Protocol and Standard

FLW Protocol and Standard is a multi-stakeholder effort for guidance on practical and consistent quantification FLW for countries, companies, and other organizations. The FLW Protocol is convened by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and involves FAO, UNEP, the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the Consumer Goods Forum, EU project FUSIONS, and Waste and Resources Action Programme as core partners. Its launch if foreseen for 2016.

African Postharvest Losses Information System (APHLIS)

Initiated in 2008 by collaboration between the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), the German Ministry of Food, and the European Union’s Joint Research Centre and it is funded by EC. APHLIS uses a model based on previous data to estimate the amount of losses. The algorithm of the calculator uses two datasets, the postharvest loss profiles and seasonal production data. APHLIS is not intended to be a statistical approach. The downloadable loss calculator enables practitioners to change the default values to those that are specific to the situation of interest and to obtain loss estimates at a chosen geographical scale.